entrepreneurial small companies interested in manufacturing sensors (but lacking resources to develop them) and their customers who wish to purchase rather than develop sensors. Researchers at NRL should be encouraged to work with small companies interested in manufacturing sensors and with larger companies likely to use sensors. In this way, NRL would again provide a centralized resource to domestic industry and would be furthering its mission toward Dual Use.
One example of note, useful for future planning of activities in this arena, is the recently completed and highly successful Microelectronics Manufacturing Science and Technology (MMST) program funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and cooperatively executed between Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Texas Instruments. This program resulted in the development and testing of a wide range of process control sensors, many of which involved optical diagnostic measurements in plasma processes. Ellipsometry, a conventional technique sensitive to thin film structures, but previously considered too slow for real-time monitoring, was greatly expanded and improved on in the MMST program, eventually developing into a real-time sensor for manufacturing tools. Follow-on programs are now being proposed by ARPA. The sensors developed in the MMST have already been licensed by other companies, thereby completing the technology infusion mechanism proposed by the MMST program planners and endorsed by ARPA.
NRL can participate in or initiate similar programs, using its expertise in sensors, optical diagnostic techniques, and in-house tools. Interservice programs involving cooperative efforts with Air Force and Army laboratories are also encouraged and would offer additional expertise and insight into sensor development.